Arsenal are looking for defensive reinforcements this summer and they have honed in on one Bayern Munich star who could be looking for a way out after the arrival of Mats Hummels.
The Gunners are on the lookout for a defensive partner for Laurent Koscielny, with age catching up to their big German Per Mertesacker and new signing Gabriel Paulista failing to convince. The arrival of Mats Hummels at Bayern Munich has opened the door to a move for Medhi Benatia, while Swansea City’s Ashley Williams and AS Roma’s Kostas Manolas are also under consideration.
Hummels in, Benatia out
Bayern Munich made a signing that could drastically change their future for the better as they snapped up a former academy product and Borussia Dortmund captain Mats Hummels. The arrival of the German centre-back means that he automatically slots into the first team at the cost of one of the Bavarian giants’ regular centre-backs.
That man looks to be Moroccan defender Medhi Benatia, who has been plagued with injury problems since arriving at Munich from Roma two years ago.
“I have three years contract left in Munich. If Bayern want me to leave – no problem. If they want me to stay – I will stay,” said Benatia, according to the Mirror.
French publication RMC suggests that Arsenal are interested in the player and will make a bid at some point in the summer transfer window. His value has dropped drastically since Bayern signed him for £21 million in 2014 and this could end up being a very smart signing by Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal looking to raid Swansea City for their leader
Swansea City captain Ashley Williams has been one of the most consistent defenders in the Premier League and has been the defensive anchor for the Swans in their five-year stint in the top tier. Arsene Wenger is believed to be a long time fan of the Wales international and there was some serious interest in the player from the Gunners in the past few seasons.
Even this summer, Arsenal are reportedly mulling over a possible move for Williams as he hits his final few years as a professional footballer capable of playing at the top level. At 31, Williams is the same age as Per Mertesacker and wouldn’t provide much of a long term solution to the Gunners’ defensive needs. However the club could be in the market for the experienced dressing room leader they severely lack, especially given the departure of Mikel Arteta, making Williams a possible short-term solution.
Arsenal handed boost in their efforts to sign Greek defender
24-year-old centre-back Kostas Manolas has been attracting a lot of attention from the Premier League thanks to his good performances for AS Roma in the Serie A. The Greek defender has become a rock in defence for the Romans since arriving from Olympiakos in 2014.
Arsenal had tried to bring him to the Emirates two years ago as well, but the move didn’t work out because Roma offered Manolas a better deal. The Gunners are keen to try their luck once again and have been handed a huge boost with rivals Chelsea backing out of the race, according to Football Insider.
The Blues have instead focused all their attentions on recruiting his Roma teammate Radja Nainggolan and this leaves the door open for the Gunners to snap up their defensive target.
Manolas’ contract at Roma runs till 2019, so the Serie A club are in a strong position to negotiate with Arsenal. There was also reportedly a clause in his transfer agreement that states that Roma will have to pay Olympiakos either £4.9 million or half the transfer fee if he is sold on, which makes things very difficult for the Gunners. If Arsenal are really keen to sign the Greek defender, the transfer fee could end up being upwards of £30 million.